If I taught a workshop/seminars at ANWG '19 would you be interested?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Taking Care of Others

Have been thinking about watching weavers use methods that will lead to injury - sitting too low, usually - and wondering how much of a duty I have to point this out to them.

At workshops I always see people weaving on small looms with 'ordinary' chairs which are too low.  Sitting with hips lower than knees.  Sitting with elbows lower than the breast beam.  Knowing that if people continue to sit this way and weave for 'lengthy' periods of time that they will eventually develop lower back problems and/or shoulder/neck problems.

After a while I start to feel like a broken record.  How many times can I keep repeating this essential information before people simply tune me out - until they start experiencing pain, at which point I hope they remember this information. 

It was very gratifying to be asked to write an article for the Weaver's Journal (of Great Britain) where I could, once again, try to educate people about the hazards of using a low chair instead of a seat of the correct height, etc.  The issue should be coming out soon, and I really hope people will read it and take heed.

I've been asked to present The Efficient Weaver again at NEWS next year, and for a workshop in Texas this September.  It felt great to be at John C. Campbell and help people with good posture, proper seating and ergonomic hand motions.  Like one student said, she can't see herself so it was very helpful for me to point out that she was raising her hands far too high and putting too much stress on shoulders that were already suffering.  I hope she has made the new movement her default - with 5 days of weaving,  that she will return to her loom and remember.

And I will continue to point out to students when I feel they are inching towards injury....

12 comments:

DebbieB said...

Keep fighting the good fight, Laura! Ergonomics are so important to enjoy weaving for a lifetime.

Cindy said...

I agree, keep doing what you do so well. It has made a difference to me, I've changed my seat at the Wolf and it all just seems to work better.

Klara said...

Will that article appear in The Journal of the Weaver's, Spinner's, Dyer's Guilds?

I've wondered about the ergonomics of weaving - and I've never found anything in any book. Which might be part of why you have to repeat the same things over and over again - you are the only one saying it and there's so many weavers who need to hear it.

So, where do I start (The Journal - it that's where the article appers - won't be out before summer)? Elbows over breastbeam height? I'll check for that. I'm currently sittin on an office chair in its highest position + a hard cushion and I often think I would be more comfortable if I could sit even higher, but I don't know how to get more height - or whether I would still be comfortable treadling, sitting even higher.

Laura said...

Yes, the Journal for Weaver's, Spinner's and Dyer's. I'm not at my own computer so was going from memory.

I know there are others also giving the same advice, it isn't just me, but you're right it isn't information that is commonly available. And since so few weavers nowadays weave for more than a few minutes at a time, I suppose it isn't considered essential info. :)

Rhonda from Baddeck said...

In Laura's class last year, I learned that I can lean into my loom, just perching at the front of the bench - which I raised as soon as I got home (I have a large Glimakra which won't "walk away"). It's more of a semi-standing position, like resting against a low wall. Most chairs are too low - a weaving bench will provide more flexibility of position (intended to be raised/lowered). Getting my elbows above the breast beam was the key to relieving the tension in my shoulders. These were giant leaps for me, and I might never have figured them out without Laura's guidance (either class or blog). Keep it up Laura - you ARE making a difference!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps what would be most helpful generally is a set of guidelines related to one's own body, since both our looms and our bodies are different. Those who are long-waisted but have shorter limbs will have a very different physical relation to the same loom compared to a short-waisted person with long arms and legs. And the "whys" are key to driving home the points to those of us who work better with reasoning than with rules. Photos of good/bad weaving form would also be a great help. As if you needed more on your plate!

trish said...

They were so lucky to have you there! I would love to have you in my studio to correct my posture etc...never get tired of telling us please :)

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

One problem with workshops is that every participant has to "make do" with what is offered. (At least *I* would neve dream of bringing both loom and bench/stool/chair/"sitting device" - ) And, *if* I went to a reputable school which offered the use of a loom, I would be, what can the word be - offended, perhaps, if the school had looms, but only offered "dining chairs" to sit on. However, once I *was* there, I still would have to make do with what was available...
Meaning: yes, keep telling ppl, but maybe they have no choice in the moment -

Laura said...

Guidelines that are true no matter what size you or your loom are:

hips higher than knees
elbows must clear the breast beam

Yes, sometimes you do have to make do, but I have seen people with 'proper' adjustable benches still sitting too low. :(

Sharon said...

I have learned so much from your posts. A very important one for me was the videos of weaver named Sharon and I adopted your instructions. I live remotely and have learned a lot remotely so had never seen a weaver rock backwards when closing the shed. It saves my back big time. Thanks for your passion. You go grrl!

Cally said...

Yes, the href="http://www.thejournalforwsd.org.uk/">Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers! It will be in Journal 242 which is published in May - I've just come back from the meeting where we reviewed the first proofs :-)

Cally said...

Oops, must have got my brackets wrong. I meant to say the Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers. I hope that's better.